posted: September 11, 2009

The discussion in Felix Sockwell's page about sources of inspiration made me go back and remember what exactly jumpstarted for me the way of working I have been doing for almost twenty years now. It is a good excuse to talk in general about inspirations too.

As a Junior year student at SVA in 1990, I haven't done almost any collage before. My main interest were Caricature and Illustration but due to my own frustration with my 'performance' in these fields, and my 'advanced' age (was already 27) I switched to major in Graphic Design. An independent Caricature class with Sam Viviano, a Mad Magazine illustrator and nowadays, the AD of Mad, was the only real illustration class I was taking that semester. (that was a suggestion of Richard Wilde the head of Graphic Design). Working with Sam one on one led to some deep introspection and to some experimenting which produced my first collage piece. I have a very vivid recollection of the sort of images I was looking at or admiring back then.


Andre François was a major favorite of mine at the time. I loved the dialogue between object and painted line in this image. The fact that there is only one 'object' makes us really understand its essence, its reason to be there, and thus the message is so clearly communicated.

I kept borrowing from the library a book of Tulio Pericoli and kept looking in it. Sam Viviano and I were examining this amazing Beckett caricature and it hit us that the coat seemed to be made on a different piece of paper and glued on top. That led Sam to introduce the term 'collage' to our talks for the first time..

I found this poster in the Picture Collection of the Mid Manhattan Library (shhhhh I stole it and still have it here with me, ok ok less dramatic than that, I did pay the fine) I was totally amazed by its minimalism. With so little, so much is said here. Once I saw it I said: I can get likenesses with little information too! I'm going to try that on Saddam Hussein.

During the late eighties the images of Sandy Skoglund were in every poster and postcard shop. I loved them and had postcards of them pinned to the wall. As someone who had trouble controlling a complex palette, I was attracted to the limited yet exact use of color. These images also created an emotional story with quite a simple idea.

Also, looking at Skoglund's work, the whole idea of hierarchy of elements and colors became clearer to me. Guy Billout as my teacher had a lot to do with me understanding it. Guy is the Master of guiding your eye through a page exactly to where he wants it to go!

Also I got to see a couple of shows of Skoglund in Soho. I still love her work.

God knows how but with all those images in my head and with the strike of luck of a box of matches being there at the right time, (and remember this is the time RIGHT BEFORE the First Gulf War) within 2 weeks I think I came up with this first caricature collage.

Perhaps the biggest luck of all was also having the right teachers around at the time: Sam Viviano, Guy Billout, Carin Goldberg as a Graphic Design teacher, Jack Potter as an amazing Drawing teacher and Richard Wilde not only as teacher but also as an enthusiastic advocate of me developing myself as a caricaturist while majoring in Graphic Design.

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